One ICBC’s employee’s story of how accommodations allowed him to succeed at work
At ICBC, we want to ensure that people feel a strong sense of belonging and we’re committed to creating an inclusive workplace for all employees. Part of this commitment means accommodating the needs of employees with disabilities, so they feel recognized, included and supported in their roles.
One such employee is Mike, a business process advisor. Here’s Mike, in his own words, speaking about the impact of these accommodations on his work at ICBC:
“For many years, I hid my neurodivergence. I was worried about the stigma and masked my autistic tendencies to fit in and be accepted, until around three years ago, when I had to 'out' myself.
I had a manager who wanted things done in a particular way that was not a good fit for how my brain worked. When my frustration peaked, I told him I was not able to think the way he wanted me to, as I was neurodivergent. I thought saying that would make things worse, but his response surprised me.
He said, ‘I wish you would've told me earlier.’ I asked if it would have changed anything, and he replied, 'Yes, it would have changed everything.' He then gave me the best advice I could have asked for — any time I work for a new manager or supervisor, I should tell them about my autism and ADHD so they can adapt and help me be productive. He and I worked together with greater success after that.
Autistic people can be highly productive, helpful and capable once we are comfortable in our environment. We don't need to convert to neurotypical thinking. We simply need people to understand our different neurology and to find ways to accommodate it.
Many systems and processes — often designed for neurotypical people — can exacerbate problems instead of moving towards inclusion and acceptance. By making simple adjustments in our workplace, such as changing how one-on-one meetings are handled, changing how we interview, hire and promote, and giving us the space to be comfortable in how we learn and work, we can provide an environment for autistic people to be successful.
Nowadays, every new manager in my department gets an email from me with a list of my current projects and a note about my neurodivergence. My current setup allows me to turn around work tasks quickly and handle large projects easily. I'm thankful my manager gives me the opportunity to work in a way that lets me be my most productive.
By accepting autistic people as they are, you help to open the doors toward understanding and give us an opportunity to share our many strengths, talents and skills.”